Citizens will write letters to the editor or make comments on social media, but they rarely take the time to actually show up at city hall at budget and tax-rate calculation time.
This was the gist of one speaker’s comments in council chambers this week.
Chilliwack council was considering its 2014 Financial Plan bylaw with a 2.44 proposed tax rate increase, which was approved following an information hearing on Tuesday night.
Resident Gary Raddysh appeared in council chambers during the information hearing this year, to again request that Chilliwack council go instead with “a zero per cent tax increase for one year.”
He said he and his wife have asked their employer for raises, but that it wasn’t “part of the plan.”
Consequently Chilliwack should “live within its means,” as well, he argued.
“The chart (showing Chilliwack pays the lowest tax rate) looks good but I don’t feel I’m paying the lowest taxes around, and these are not the only taxes I have to pay of course.”
Resident Bryden Nelmes said he was hoping more people would show up at city hall to talk taxes and budget.
“If you look at your pocketbook this is the most important bylaw of the year, as far as what it affects and what they’re paying.
“People aren’t here to debate the issues,” he chided gently.
He also broached some pedestrian safety and access issues for the disabled, and asked city staff to look at certain sidewalks and crosswalks.
“There’s no way to walk to the airport safely,” he said.
The budget will fund two additional police officers for the RCMP and one career firefighter for Chilliwack Fire Department.
The 2.44 per cent increase is down a percentage point from 3.44 per cent last year, and it translates into a $38 increase in taxes on a typical Chilliwack home.